CONTACTING THE HOST
When your child is invited to a party, it’s a good idea to first consider whether they should be allowed to go. To help you make a decision you could contact the host (the parent) to get a picture of what sort of party it’s going to be. Find out:
- The ages of the other children coming.
- Whether the party will have parental supervision.
- Whether there will be food and activities provided.
- The host’s view on allowing or serving alcohol.
- Plans for preventing gatecrashers.
- When the party will end, so you can pick them up.
Sometimes it’s difficult to decide whether to allow your child to attend a party. They may really
want to go, but you may feel uncomfortable about the party arrangements. As a parent, you
need to protect your child, so it’s a valid choice to say no.
GIVE YOUR CHILD SAFE PARTYING TIPS
If you do allow your child to go to a party, it’s the ideal time to have The Other Talk because there are a number of ways you can protect them from having a bad experience:
Make your views on alcohol and drugs clear
If you know alcohol will be available at the party, but you don’t want your child to drink, then you can let the host and your child know your decision. Most states of Australia have secondary supply laws that prohibit anyone giving alcohol to your child without written or verbal permission from you.
Brainstorm ways of saying no to alcohol and drugs
Ideas include, having a good excuse ready like, “I’m playing in a big game tomorrow” or “I’m on antibiotics”. Make sure the excuses won’t make them embarrassed. They could also just hold any alcoholic drinks they are given and put them down later.
Have a plan for the night
Find out when the party is expected to finish and agree with your child how they are going to get home. This will help ensure they don’t get into a car with a driver who’s drunk, affected by drugs or doesn’t have a licence. You can also help them develop a plan with their friends around what they will do if they lose each other, like nominating a meeting place, having phone numbers written on a piece of paper in case phones get lost and who can be called in an emergency.
Encourage them to stay with their friends
Talk about why it’s important for them to stick with their friends, and let their friends know where they are going, what they are doing and who they are with if they do leave them. Discuss how your child can look after their friends. You could suggest how a fight could be defused and what to do if someone becomes very drunk.
It’s important to encourage your child to look after a friend who is drunk by staying with them, putting them on their side if they want to lie down in case they vomit, and dialing triple zero (000) if they pass out or are in trouble. Paramedics do not need to involve the police.
Safe partying guide
Give your child the Safe partying guide, which prepares them for dealing with alcohol responsibly at a party. Contact the Australian Drug Foundation for a single copy.